Amongst the many reasons why I love being Catholic, is the very real way our faith is daily translated through the living of the liturgical year.  Yesterday was the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.  A “double of the 1st class” feast day always deserves to be marked in a special way…we chose the time-honored tradition of the St. John’s Eve “Feast and Fire” as we’ve named it:  a special family meal and a bonfire to commemorate the birth of the Precursor.

Last night we were blessed with the arrival of last minute guests.  This made for a truly festive evening, lasting well into the wee hours of the morning.

The children enjoyed grilling hot dogs and roasting marshmallows.

They skipped the ribs…inconceivable, but I guess nothing beats a hot dog you’ve roasted “commando style.”

Of course you need the proper equipment:

And then there’s the proper technique for eating this delicacy…without the bun, of course!

The chill night air made the fire even more enjoyable…even Grandma came out for a short visit

And though we may have lacked the traditional “sweet beer,” the Guinness drinkers didn’t seem to mind!

Dad entertained the crowd with a bit of “redneck golf”. Dad grabs a golf ball, while the kids run to the other side of the the big barn. A hard whack with his trusty Louisville Slugger and that ball is outa here! The kids scramble on the other side of the barn to see who can retrieve it first. Yeah…kinda strange, but that’s who we are…

As the sun slowly set, the glowing embers of the fire and the twinkling stars provided all the illumination we needed. Pulling chairs closer to the fire, we talked of our faith…the love we share as Catholics committed to living life abundantly, taking every opportunity to celebrate what it means to live as families did centuries before us…according to the liturgical calendar.

This morning…the embers are all that remain of the fire. But the memories the children will carry with them into their adult life will nourish the seed we’ve planted.

Tradition.

There’s no substitute…